Fears grow over fracking licences

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Anti-fracking campaigners are fighting the possible drilling for shale gas at sites around the district.

A protest was held outside County Hall in Wakefield on Wednesday after exploration licences were granted to companies interested in the controversial method of extracting natural gas.

Parts of Pontefract, Featherstone, Castleford and Ackworth are among 27 locations in England where fracking could potentially happen.

Fears have been raised over the environmental effects of shale gas extraction, which involves injecting sand and chemicals into rock at high pressures.

Two small earthquakes of 1.5 and 2.2 magnitude hit the Blackpool area in 2011 following shale gas test drilling.

Fracking was thought to be the cause.

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett said: “There are major concerns from people in the area about the fact that it can cause seismic events under the ground.

“I think earthquake might be too strong a word but there are certainly fears about the possible effects the drilling can have. People are also worried about pollution of the waterways in the area.”

Last month the Oil and Gas Authority announced 27 locations in England where licenses to frack for oil and gas would be granted.

Twelve firms, including Cuadrilla and Ineos, were given the exclusive right to explore for oil and gas using methods including fracking.

Planning permission would be required for exploration to actually go ahead.